Robert's Rules of Order Part 2 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Robert's Rules of Order Part 2 Deck (160):

Objection to Consideration of a Question

The purpose of this motion is to prevent the assembly from considering the question/motion because a member deems the question as irrelevant, unprofitable, contentious, or simply objectionable. THe members believes it is undesirable for this motion to come before the assembly. This motion is only applicable to an Original Main Motion, not an Incidental Main Motion.


obtain the floor

Secure recognition from the presiding officer to either speak or make a motion.



A person who has been appointed or elected to an official position in the organization.


old business

An incorrect and misleading term for the part of the agenda properly called unfinished business. Old business is misleading because it indicates that anything that the group once talk about fits here. The only business that fits in unfinished business is business that was started but not yet finished.


on the floor

A motion is considered on the floor when it has been stated by the presiding officer and has not yet been disposed of either permanently or temporarily. Pending and on the floor are interchangeable terms.


order of business

The schedule of business for the meeting; the agenda.


order of the day

A business item that is scheduled to be taken up during a particular meeting.


Original Main Motions

Those motions which bring before the assembly a new subject, sometimes in the form of a resolution, upon which action by the assembly is desired.


out of order

A motion, action, request, or procedure that is in violation of the rules of the organization.


ownership of a motion

A concept that refers to whose property the motion is at a given time and, therefore, who has a right to make any changes to it. In the six steps of the motion process, the maker of the motion owns the motion up until the completion of Step 3. After Step 3, the ownership of a motion is transferred to the assembly.



A person who is an expert in parliamentary procedure and is hired by a person or an organization to give advice on matters of parliamentary law and procedure. Sometimes a parliamentarian is a member of the organization who has some knowledge of parliamentary procedure and is used as a parliamentary resource during the meeting.


parliamentary authority

The set of rules a group adopts as the rules that will govern them. The parliamentary manual adopted by the organization, usually in its bylaws, to serve as the governing authority. RRoO is the parliamentary authority for the vast majority of the organizations in the United States, and for many organizations in other countries.


Parliamentary Inquiry

A question directed to the presiding officer concerning parliamentary law or the organization's rules as they apply to the business at hand.


parliamentary law

The established rules for the conduct of business in deliberative assemblies. The terms parliamentary law and parliamentary procedure are frequently used interchangeably.


parliamentary procedure

A system of rules for the orderly conduct of business. The terms parliamentary law and parliamentary procedure are frequently used interchangeably.



A motion is considered pending when it has been stated by the presiding officer and has not yet been disposed of either permanently or temporarily. Pending and on the floor are interchangeable terms and refer to Step 4 in the processing of a motion.


plurality vote

A method of voting in which the candidate or proposition receiving the largest number of votes is elected or selected. Use of decision by plurality vote in an election must be authorized in the bylaws.


Point of Information

A non-parliamentary question about the business at hand.


Point of Order

If a member feels the rules are not being followed, he/she can use this motion. It requires the chair to make a ruling and enforce the rules. Avoid overuse; save it for when someone's rights are being violated.


Point of Personal Privilege

Another phrase used for a Question of Privilege. An urgent request or motion relating to the privileges of a member of the assembly.


policies and procedures

Some organizations have additional detailed rules and guidelines regarding the administration of the organization.



A place where voting is conducted.


Postpone Indefinitely

This motion, in effect, kills the Main Motion for the duration of the session without the group having to take a vote on the motion. If the motion passes, there is no vote on the Main Motion which means there is no stand taken for or against the motion.


Postpone to a Certain Time/Postpone Definitely

If the body needs more time to make a decision or if there is a time for consideration of this question that would be more convenient, this motion may be the answer. If a group meets quarterly or more frequently, the postponement cannot be beyond the next session.



The first part of a resolution that contains the "whereas" clauses. It's the portion of the resolution that explains the reasons for the motion.


Precedence of Motions

A rank of motions indicated the order in which motions should be processed. When a motion is immediately pending, any motion above it on the Precedence of Motions is in order and any motion below it is out of order. In this book, the terms ladder of motions and Precedence of Motions are used interchangeably. Precedence of Motions applies only to the following motion, in the following order:
1. Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn
2. Adjourn
3. Recess
4. Raise a Question of Privilege
5. Call for the Orders of the Day
6. Lay on the Table
7. Previous Question
8. Limit or Extend Limits of Debate
9. Postpone Definitely
10. Commit or Refer to a Committee
11. Secondary Amendment
12. Primary Amendment
13. Postpone Indefinitely
14. Main Motion



A decision or course of action that serves as a rule for future determinations in similar cases.


preferential voting

A method of voting in which members may express more than one preference on a single ballot. It's useful in ballot voting when it's impractical to re-ballot if no candidate was elected on the first ballot. This method of voting can only be used if authorized in the bylaws.



A member who is physically in attendance in the meeting.


present and voting

A member who is physically present at the meeting and who casts a vote on a motion. A member who abstains is not considered present and voting.



The chairing of a meeting.



The chief officer of an organization. One of the duties of the president is usually to serve as presiding officer at the meetings of the organization.



A person elected to the office of president one full term before serving as president. By being elected to the office of President-elect, the person is elected to serve a term as President-elect and then a term as president.


presiding officer

The person in charge of the meeting. Presiding officer and chair are interchangeable terms. They both are sometimes used to refer to the president of the organization when the president is conducted the meeting.


prevailing side

The affirmative if the motion passed and the negative if the motion failed. A person is said to have voted on the prevailing side if that member voted yes on a motion that passed or no on a motion that failed.


previous notice

An official announcement, given verbally or in writing, of an item of business that will be introduced at the meeting. Certain motions require previous notice.


Previous Question

The effect of this motion is to immediately stop debate on the primary motion and any amendments and to move immediately to a vote on the motion. It must be seconded, no debate is allowed, and a two-thirds vote is needed to close debate.


Primary Amendment

A proposed change to the Main Motion.


privileged motions

Motions that don't relate to the Main Motion or pending business but relate directly to the members and the organization. They are matters of such urgency that, without debate, they can interrupt the consideration of anything else. Motions in this classification include: Fix the Time to which to Adjourn, Adjourn, Recess, Question of Privilege, and Call for the Orders of the Day.


pro tem

Temporary or for the time being; e.g. "secretary pro tem".


professional parliamentarian

An expert in parliamentary procedure who has earned one or both of the following designations: Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) through the National Association of Parliamentarians; Certified Professional Parliamentarian (CPP) through the American Institute of Parliamentarians.



A schedule of the business to be considered at a meeting or convention. A program can also refer to a non-business portion of the agenda in which a guest speaker gives a presentation.



A condition that is applied to a change in the bylaws. It usually delays the effective date of the change made in the bylaws. It's not a part of the bylaws. All provisos should be put on a separate sheet of paper at the end of the document and removed after they are no longer in effect.


proxy voting

A proxy vote can be cast when one member has given written authorization for another member (or non-member) to vote on his/her behalf. The format of the written authorization for a proxy vote may be given in the bylaws. When the bylaws include a provision for proxy voting, they frequently limit the number of proxy votes one person may carry, as well as whether the person carrying the proxy must be a member, so be sure to check that in advance of the meeting. The proxy vote is only counted in determining a quorum for the meeting if so stated in the bylaws. Proxy voting is not allowed unless expressly authorized in the bylaws. Many state statutes have rules regarding proxy voting.



A Professional Registered Parliamentarian; an individual who has been registered by the National Association of Parliamentarians on the basis of passing a course covering advanced knowledge of parliamentary law and procedure according to RRoO Newly Revised. During the examination the person must demonstrate abilities in presiding, serving as parliamentarian, and teaching parliamentary procedure.


putting the question

Step 5 in the processing of the motion. It involves the presiding officer placing the motion before the members for a vote.



The limiting of a motion or a vote in a specific manner. For example, if a Main Motion, a Primary Amendment, a Secondary Amendment, and a motion to Postpone Definitely are all pending and a member moves the Previous Question on the motion to Postpone Definitely, the Secondary Amendment and the Primary Amendment. In this example, the Previous Question motion is qualified because it does not apply to all four pending motions, only three of them. It does not apply to the Main Motion.


quarterly time interval

Two meetings are considered to be held within a quarterly time interval if the second meeting is held any time during the calendar month three months later than the calendar month in which the first meeting was held.


quasi committee of the whole

"As if in" quasi committee of the whole. The entire assembly acts as a committee to discuss a motion or issue more informally. Unlike the quasi committee of the whole, the presiding officer remains in the chair.


Question of Privilege

An urgent request or motion relating to the privileges of the assembly or a member.



The number of voting members who must be present in order that business can be legally transacted.


Raise a Question of Privilege

To bring an urgent request or a Main Motion relating to the rights of either the assembly or an individual up for immediate consideration. It may interrupt business.



A motion that confirms or validates a previously taken action that needs assembly approval to become legal.


receive a report

To permit or cause a report to be presented; to hear a report.



A short interruption which does not close the meeting. After the recess, business resumes at exactly the point where it was interrupted.


recognize a member

The acknowledgement by the presiding officer that a member has the right to address the assembly.



A proposal that the body take a specific action. It's usually made by a committee, a board, or an officer.



A motion to Refer an issue or a motion back to a committee.



This motion enables the majority of the assembly to bring back for further consideration a motion that has been voted on. Limitations: Only a member who voted on the prevailing side can make this motion, and in an ordinary meeting of an organization, this motion can be made only on the same day the vote to be reconsidered was taken.


Reconsider and Enter in the Minutes

This motion is an incredibly unusual form of the motion to Reconsider. The effect of this motion, after it's made and seconded, is that action on the motion to be Reconsidered stops and the original motion cannot be Reconsidered until a later day. Thus, it prevents an unrepresentative group from making a decision on an issue.



To count the vote again.


Refer to a Committee/Commit

This motion sends the Main Motion to a smaller group (a committee) for further examination and refinement before the body votes on it. Be sure to be specific which committee, size of committee, the report back date, and so on.


regular meeting

A business meeting of a permanent group that is held at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly, and so on). The meetings are held when prescribed in the bylaws, the standing rules, or through a motion of the group, usually adopted at the beginning of the administrative year. Each meeting is a separate session.


renewal of a motion

A motion is considered renewed if it was made and disposed of without being adopted and then made again. The rules concerning renewal of a motion are extensive and are based upon the principle that an assembly should not have to deal with the same motion or substantially the same motion more than one time in a single session.



Another word for the motion to Rescind.



A formal communication from a committee, board, or officer to the assembly. The report can be written or oral.


reporting member

The member of the committee or board that is presenting the committee or board report to the members. The chairman of a committee is usually the reporting member.



Any petition by a member through the presiding officer to the assembly, which is growing out of the business of the assembly.


Request to be Excused from a Duty

If a member believes he cannot fulfill a duty required of him, either as a member or as an officer, he can move to Request to be Excused from a Duty. If the motion passes, he is excused from the duty.


Request to Read Papers

A call from a member to the assembly for permission to read from any paper or book. Reading from a paper or book is not allowed without permission from the assembly.



This motion allows the assembly to Repeal an action previously taken. This motion can be applied to any previously adopted motion, provided that none of the actions involved have been carried out in a way that it is too late to undo.



A request, usually written, to relinquish an office, position, appointment, or membership.



A formal form of a motion that usually includes reasons as "whereas" clauses and the action as "resolved" clause(s).


resolved clause

The last part of a formal resolution. This part is the portion that specifies the action or position to be taken.


revision of the bylaws

A complete rewrite of the bylaws that is presented as a new document. When presented, the proposed revision of the bylaws can be amended without limitation. There is a single vote taken at the end to determine if the proposed revision, as Amended, will replace the current bylaws.


rising counted vote

A method of voting in which the members express their vote by standing and then those standing are counted and the number is reported to the presiding officer. "Those in favor of the motion, please stand and remain standing until counted. [pause] Please be seated.” "Those opposed to the motion, please stand and remain standing until counted. [pause] Please be seated."


rising vote

A method of voting in which the members express their vote by standing. "Those in favor of the motion, please stand. [pause] Please be seated.” "Those opposed to the motion, please stand. [pause] Please be seated."


Robert's Rules

A term used to refer to any of the manuals on parliamentary procedure written by Henry M. Robert or based on the manuals he wrote. **Referred to here as RRoO (Robert’s Rules of Order).**


roll call vote

A method of voting in which the voting members' names are called and the member states their vote: "The secretary will now call the roll." This method of voting has the exact opposite effect of a ballot vote in that it places in the record how each member voted. It should only be used when the members are responsible to a particular constituency who has a right to know how they voted. It is frequently required of public bodies, such as city councils or school boards.



A Registered Parliamentarian through the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). To become an RP, a person must pass a written examination covering RRoO Newly Revised.


rules of order

Written sets of laws of parliamentary procedure by which an organization conducts its business.



A decision made by the presiding officer. If members of the assembly disagree with the decision, they can Appeal the decision.


scope of notice

A concept that applies to motions that require previous notice. It requires that the Amendment fall within the range that is created by what currently exists and by what is proposed in the advance notice of the Amendment.



Written directions of what is to be said, by whom, and when during the meeting. A script serves as a cheat sheet for the presiding officer or the member as they try to conduct or participate in a meeting. The amount of detail in the script varies with the person writing the script and the person using the script.



An indication by a voting member, other than the person who made the motion, that he/she publicly agrees that the proposed motion should be considered. In seconding a motion, the member is only indicating agreement that the assembly should consider the motion, not necessarily agreement with the motion.


Secondary Amendment

A proposed change to the Primary Amendment. This form of Amendment is not simply the second Amendment made, but it must Amend the first Amendment made: the Primary Amendment.


secondary motion

A motion that may be made while another motion is pending. It includes subsidiary motions, privileged motions, and incidental motions.



The member who seconds the motion.


secret ballot

A form of voting in which the vote of a member is not disclosed. It usually involves slips of paper on which the voter marks his vote.



The recording officer whose duty it is to maintain the records of the organization.



A position in some organizations whose job it is to help preserve order at the meeting, following the direction of the presiding officer.



A meeting or a series of connected meetings as in a convention.


show of hands vote

A method of voting in which the members express their vote by raising their hand. "All those in favor of the motion, please raise your hand. [pause] Please lower your hand(s)." "Those opposed to the motion, please raise your hand. [pause] Please lower your hand(s)."


signed ballot

A form of roll call vote that is used in large assemblies to save time. The member writes "yes" or "no" on the paper and signs it. The votes are then recorded in the minutes, just as they would be if there had been a roll call vote.



A term used to describe the absence of an issue in a document. For example, if there is nothing in the bylaws on [issue], one might say the bylaws are silent on [issue].


silent assent

A slang term that is interchangeable with general consent/unanimous consent, and is a method of avoiding the formality of a vote by getting agreement of everyone in the meeting.


simple majority

A majority - more than half.


sine die

Literally means "without day." To Adjourn sine die means it's the final adjournment of an assembly. The last meeting of the convention is said to Adjourn sine die.


single slate

A list of candidates for office or positions which has the name of only one candidate for each office or position.


skeletal minutes

A tool to assist in the minutes writing process. They are minutes prepared in advance of a meeting or convention which includes all that will be occurring, and the order in which it will occur. They contain many blank spaces that are filled in during the meeting by the person(s) in charge of the minutes. they are prepared using the agenda and/or the script for the meeting.



A list of candidates for office. The report of the nominating committee is usually referred to as the slate of candidates.



Usually refers to the person who has the floor. In some organizations, it refers to the presiding officer of the assembly, as in the Speaker of the House.


special committee

A committee that is formed to perform a particular function. After it gives its final report, it ceases to exist. Also referred to as select committee and ad hoc committee.


special meeting

A meeting called at a special time for a specific purpose. Notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting must be included in the information sent to all of the members regarding the meeting - referred to as the call of the meeting. Only business that was specified in the call of the meeting can be transacted at the meeting. A group cannot hold a special meeting unless special meetings are authorized in the bylaws. special meetings are usually held for emergency purposes - things that were not, nor could be, planned for in advance.


special orders

This category of the agenda has the effect of setting a certain time when a specified subject will be considered, and of giving it an absolute priority for that time.


special rules of order

The rules contained in the parliamentary authority are called the rules of order. Sometimes organizations feel a need to have additional rules of order, called special rules of order, which differ from the parliamentary authority.


staggered terms

Terms of office of a board or committee arranged in such a way that only a percentage of the terms end at the same time.


stand at ease

A brief pause, without a Recess, that is called by the presiding officer, without objection.


standing committee

A committee appointed for a definitive time (frequently a year), usually listed in the bylaws, which performs ongoing functions.


standing rules

Rules adopted by an organization that are administrative in nature rather than procedural. Convention standing rules are rules adopted by the convention's delegates and are procedural in nature.


state statutes

Incorporated organizations are governed by the state statutes of the state in which they are incorporated. These statutes are usually available through the secretary of state's office or the state attorney general's office and are available on the Internet.


state the question

This refers to the third step in the processing of a motion. During this step, the presiding officer restates the motion, thus, formally placing it before the body.


straw poll

A method of informally determining where the assembly stands on an issue. It is not allowed because it does not take an action and is therefore considered dilatory.



Another parliamentary authority whose original book Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure has been updated by the American Institute of Parliamentarians.



A committee of a committee, usually formed for the purpose of study and investigation of certain matters, which reports its findings to the committee that formed it.


subsidiary motions

Motions that aid the assembly in treating or disposing of a Main Motion. They are in order only from the time the Main Motion has been stated by the chair until the chair begins to take a vote on that Main Motion. Motions in this classification include: Lay on the Table, Previous Question, Limit or Extend Limits of Debate, Postpone to a Certain Time (Postpone Definitely), Commit or Refer, Amend, and Postpone Indefinitely.


Substitute Amendment

An Amendment that proposes to strike out a paragraph or more and to insert another in its place.


Suspend the Rules

This motion is used when the assembly wants to do something that violates its own rules. This motion does not apply to the organization's bylaws; local, state, or national law; or fundamental principles of parliamentary law. An appropriate suspension of the rules would be a motion to change the agenda, or the prescribed meeting time. An inappropriate suspension of the rules would be to allow nonmembers the same voting rights as members.



To support and uphold a ruling.


sustain the decision of the chair

To support and uphold a ruling made by the chair in an Appeal from the Decision of the Chair motion. When the Appeal motion is put to a vote, the wording used is: "Those in favor of sustaining the decision of the chair..."


synchronous meetings

Electronic meetings that occur when participants are in different places at the same time. Venues of the synchronous meetings include, but are definitely not limited to, telephone conferencing, video and web conferencing, chat room, instant messaging, and in-person meetings where some members attend electronically.



A shortcut term for the motion: Lay on the table.


Take from the Table

The effect of this motion is to resume consideration of a motion that was Laid on the Table earlier in the present session or in the previous session of the organization. When a motion is Taken from the Table, it has everything adhering to it exactly as it was when it was Laid on the Table.



A meeting in which the participants are connected by telephone technology or other technology that allows someone from a distance to participate.



People elected or appointed to count votes.


term of office

The duration of the period for which a person is elected or appointed to an office or position.


tie vote

An equal number of affirmative and negative votes. It is not required that tie votes be broken since, if a majority vote is needed, the motion fails because it lacks a majority vote.



The officer entrusted with the custody of the organization's funds and the maintenance of the financial records of the organization.


two-thirds vote

Having at least twice as many votes in favor of a motion as there were against the motion.



Without dissent; no votes were cast on the losing side.


unanimous ballot

A ballot cast by the secretary, or other member, to elect an uncontested candidate to an office. If the bylaws require a ballot vote, it is out of order since it prevents a member from casting a write-in ballot. After an election by ballot in which the ballot was not unanimous, a motion to make the ballot unanimous would only be in order if that vote was taken by ballot and was unanimous. This requirement protects the member from revealing his vote.


unanimous vote

A vote in which everyone present and voting, voted on the prevailing side. No one voted on the loosing side of the question.



No debate is allowed. Certain motions are undebatable. In essence, Step 4 in the processing of a motion is skipped.


unfinished business

A portion of the agenda that includes motions that have been carried over from the previous meeting as a result of that meeting having adjourned without completing its order of business.



A motion or vote that does not have any limitations placed on it. For example, if the vote needed is a majority vote of the entire membership, that is a qualified vote, but if the vote needed is only a majority vote, that is an unqualified vote.



An office or position which is unfilled or unoccupied.


vacate the chair

To temporarily relinquish the chair so that the presiding officer can participate in debate.


vice chairman

A member of the committee who is next in authority to the chairman.


vice president

A member of the organization who is next in authority to the president, unless the organization has a president-elect. The bylaws should list the duties and responsibilities of this position.



A meeting in which the members participate using video conferencing technology.


viva voce

A vote by voice.


voice vote

A method of voting in which the members express their vote vocally. "All those in favor, say Aye. [pause] All those opposed, say No." (If the chair is in doubt of the results of a voice vote, the chair should state "The chair is in doubt, and therefore a rising [or counted] vote will be taken." Then proceed with a rising/counted vote.)



A formal expression of will, opinion, or choice by members of an assembly in regard to a matter submitted to it.


vote by acclimation

An election by unanimous consent.


vote immediately

The result of the adoption of the Previous Question motion. The members will immediately vote on the motion.


voting by mail

Only when specifically authorizing in the bylaws can an organization conduct voting by mail. If there is a vote requirement or a quorum requirement, the ballot serves as the member being "present." As electronic communication is becoming more and more popular, organizations are relying on e-mail as a method of casting mail ballots. Although there are some problems associated with ballots by e-mail, they are clearly a money and time-saving approach, especially for large national and international organizations.


with power

A term used to describe a committee that is authorized to take action on the matter that is referred to it.


Withdraw of a Motion

A request by the mover of a motion to remove the motion from consideration. After the motion has been stated by the presiding officer, it belongs to the assembly and the assembly's permission (majority vote) is needed to withdraw the motion.


write-in vote

A vote cast, on a written ballot vote, for a person who was not nominated for the position.


yea or nay vote

Yes or no vote that is used in roll call voting. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with roll call vote.



Gives way to. A pending motion yields to one of higher rank on the Precedence of Motions list.


yielding the floor

A speaker giving part of his or her speaking time to another speaker. While this practice is allowed in some legislative bodies, it is not allowed in deliberative assemblies, unless specifically authorized in the rules.


Making a Motion: Step 1

Rise and address the chair. "Mr. President/Mr. Chairman."


Making a Motion: Step 2

The presiding officer recognizes you and assigns you the floor by stating your name or nodding towards you.


Making a Motion: Step 3

State the motion, using proper language. "I move that.../I move to…" Sit down after stating the motion.


Making a Motion: Step 4

A second must be stated to confirm the motion. If no second is stated, the motion is lost.


Making a Motion: Step 5

The presiding officer repeats the motion and places it before the assembly by stating such. "It is moved and seconded that...[description of motion] there any discussion?"


Making a Motion: Step 6

Members discuss the motion by rising, addressing the chair, and being assigned the floor.


Making a Motion: Step 7

The presiding officer calls a vote by stating such. "All those in favor say 'Aye'. Those opposed say 'No'."


Making a Motion: Step 8

The presiding officer announces the vote and whether the motion is adopted or defeated. If the motion is adopted, the presiding officer states the name of the person who will carry out the action. "The 'ayes' have it, and the motion is carried. We will…" or "The 'noes' have it, and the motion is lost."